Six US banks control 60% of GDP “They are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. They have assets equivalent to 60 percent of our gross national product. “And to put this in perspective, in the mid-1990s, these six banks or their predecessors, since there have been a lot of mergers, had less than 20 percent. Their assets were less than 20 percent of the gross national product.”
Much of the public discussion on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s proposed tax reforms — made in response to the Henry tax review — has centred on the projected 40% tax on “super-profits” in the mining industry. Most people probably agree that the big mining multinationals could afford to contribute a lot more to the public purse.
The number of cars using Brisbane’s first road tunnel, which opened on March 18, has remained far below the target projected by the Brisbane City Council. After an initial toll-free period, when 65,000 vehicles used the tunnel daily, the usage plunged to a daily average of only 21,178 vehicles after a discounted toll was introduced. The drop in patronage has forced the tunnel operators, River City Motorways, to extend the discounted toll period by another seven weeks in an attempt to boost vehicle numbers.
Across the United States, large rallies were held on May Day (May 1, the international workers’ day). Opposition to attacks on immigrants were a major theme in big cities and small towns. Organisers of the march in Los Angeles estimated 250,000 immigrants and supporters staged a boisterous march in opposition to Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070 law. In Tucson, Arizona, 15,000 protested against the racist law. About 30,000 people protested in New York and about 3000 marched in Washington D.C.
It would be a sick joke, if it weren't actually true. On April 30, a 23-year-old Sydney man was acquitted of rape because the jury decided he couldn't have ripped off a young woman's skinny jeans without “any sort of collaboration”, the May 1 Sydney Morning Herald said.
The Socialist Alliance has endorsed Dr Renfrey Clarke to run for the Senate in South Australia. Clarke was one of the founders of the Climate Emergency Action Network in 2008, and is a well-known activist and writer on environmental topics. He is a member of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union. A specialist on Russia and Latin America, Clarke worked for many years as a foreign correspondent for Green Left Weekly and other progressive media. Below, Clarke outlines the priority issues around which he campaigns.
When setting a giant oil spill on fire is the least-worst option to limit environmental damage, you know you're in trouble. But that appeared to be the case as US authorities debated how to contain an spill caused by the failure in April of a deepwater oil rig — owned by the oil giant BP — about 80 kilometres off the US in the Gulf of Mexico. On May 2, the Times of London reported that Professor Ian MacDonald, an ocean specialist at Florida State University, said satellite data suggested the leak has already spread 9 million gallons of heavy crude oil.
On May 6, the federal executive of the Australian Education Union (AEU) caved in to the Labor government over the campaign against league tables and the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) ban. As the May 11-13 dates for the NAPLAN tests approached, the dispute over the AEU ban on them heated up. Teachers said the tests could be used to produce school league tables. Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharon Burrow facilitated discussions between the AEU executive and education minister Julia Gillard.
ANZACS in Arkhangel: The Untold Story of Australia and the Invasion of Russia 1918-19 By Michael Challinger Hardie Grant Books, 2010, 285 pages, $35 (pb) “The remedy for Bolshevism is bullets”, was the blunt message of the editorial in Britain’s establishment newspaper, The Times, in 1919 as military forces from 16 capitalist countries invaded Russia after the 1917 revolution. Among the invaders were about 150 Australian soldiers, as recounted in Michael Challinger’s history of the Australian role in the invasion.
On May 4, 1970, Ohio State National Guard military reservists murdered four students at Kent State University. The students were peacefully protesting against President Richard Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. The killings stunned American youth into a convulsive protest movement that shook Nixon’s government and contributed to forcing the US ruling class to reverse its South East Asia war plans. The upsurge even found an expression on the pop music charts.
I want to sow seeds in the fertile minds of the young, and see wisdom grow. To plant flowers in parched desert hearts and watch love grow anew. Drench the fires of hatred and intolerance in a downpour so huge, not a spark remains. Feed the hungry and starve injustice. I want to heal the wounds of life’s thousand painful cuts. Make only weapons that kill pain and suffering. Declare war on war. Throttle patriotic lies and romantic war. Freeze greed and warm the poor. Free minds imprisoned by conditioning and fear. Plant real smart bombs in minds and watch them sprout.